On Phoenix Comicon, 2014

Well, one, clearly, at some point at Phoenix Comicon I was in a luchador mask in front of a whole bunch of people. You know, as you do.

Two, Phoenix Comicon continues to be one of my favorite “comic con” conventions, in part because it has a robust author track, which means a) lots of authors, including people who I really like hanging out with as humans, b) the panels tend to be interesting and more than the basic sort of “writing/publishing 101″ panels that large conventions often feature. The only real drawback to the convention is that it takes place in Phoenix in the summer, and walking out on the sidewalk makes you understand what it’s like to be a vampire in the daytime. But fortunately most of one’s time is spent indoors, away from the demon daystar.

Some highlights of the convention:

* I attempted stand-up(ish things) for my part of the Paul & Storm & Rothfuss & Scalzi concert, which included a special guest spot by Amber Benson, who has rapidly become one of my favorite humans. If you missed it before, there’s Youtube documentation here. I was happy with it — it was the first time just trying to do comedy right off the cuff and off the top of my head, so bits are rough and there are places where I think my timing was off (to be clear, I knew what I wanted to say and had prepped beforehand, but I didn’t take any materials with me on stage as prompts), but for a first time? Could have done worse. I would be happy to try it again. It helped that the Comicon audience was pretty forgiving. So if you were in that audience, thank you.

* The luchador mask was part of the “Author Batsu” game, hosted by Sam Sykes, in which me, Myke Cole, Aprilynne Pike, Chuck Wendig, Deliah Dawson, Pat Rothfuss and Leanna Renee Hieber tried to avoid laughing while Sam tried to bust us up. If you laughed, you had to consume a spoonful of salsa (which ranged form mild at first to “oh my god I’ve cauterized my throat” at the end). I laugh very easily. I ended up consuming roughly a jar of salsa. It was funny at the time. Later, no so much so, and that’s all I’m going to say about that. I will say that by the end the authors were trying to crack each other up, which made Sam’s job easier. This was apparently one of the most talked about panels of the whole show, so at least I didn’t suffer in vain.

* I and Elizabeth Bear and Beth Meacham and Lynne Thomas did a panel on the life and times of Jay Lake, and none of us, on the panel or in the audience, I think, got through it with dry eyes. Which was expected, I suppose. But it wasn’t a sad panel, in the main, because in the main Jay wasn’t a sad fellow. We told a lot of happy and funny stuff as well. Jay was Jay. I was told afterward that the programming folks checked with Jay to see whether he was comfortable with a valedictory panel while he was (at the time) still alive; he gave it enthusiastic approval. This makes me happy.

* Plus I got to hang out with a whole bunch of friends, writers and otherwise — and Krissy came along with me for the first time this year, which made it especially awesome. Really, just a fun time all around.

And now I’m at home for more than a month! Honestly I don’t know what I will do with myself. Maybe write some more in this book I’m supposed to be doing. Hey, there’s a thought.

14 thoughts on “On Phoenix Comicon, 2014

  1. Re: Phoenix heat. I was at IguanaCon in Phoenix in ’78, and the memory of that long walk across a concrete deck to the convention center in 110° heat can still warm the coldest Minnesota night.

  2. ” I ended up consuming roughly a jar of salsa. It was funny at the time. Later, no so much so, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

    Ah. The ring of fire, so to speak. You might want to consider drinking several glasses of whole milk next time. Even in the stomach, it should help bind at least some of the capsaicin.

    Wish there was video of that batsu game. Sounds like it was fun.

  3. Thank you for the kind words on the con! I schedule the Costuming panels, so I can’t take credit for the Author track, but I’ve worked cons with Lee for decades & he’s a True Book Nerd, which is why the programming there is so awesome.

    I also ran into you & Krissy in the elevator on the way down to the con on Thurs, and failed to hide how much I was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT! I don’t geek out over famous people, but creative people I admire apparently turn me into a stupid mewling puddle. Thanks for being so nice. At the wide eyes & big inhale I think you looked a bit worried, and I don’t blame you a bit, but I managed to hold it all in. Until later, when I was relating it all to friends.

    While I told you that I’d FINALLY read one of your books (Redshirts) and enjoyed it, I didn’t mention why. A friend & I were discussing your blog, and she declared you her new feminist icon. We decided we should read some of your books, and picked ‘Reshirts’ & ‘Old Man’s War’ so we can be the “I read the book” nerds when the movies & TV shows come out. We’ll be nice about it though, I promise!

  4. And now I’m at home for more than a month! Honestly I don’t know what I will do with myself.

    Well, if you miss Phoenix there’s always dry sauna. If that doesn’t work, a house fire.

    If you miss the salsa, I can send you some homemade chipotles.

  5. David Gustafson, a large portion of that big concrete deck (“The Hammer of God”, as it was dubbed during Iguanacon) has been covered by an expansion of the Convention Center since 1978.

    I tend to feel uncomfortable at large conventions these days, so I’ve never been to a Phoenix ComicCon, despite being local. (And the idea of being kidnapped by evildoers and dropped into the middle of the San Diego Comic-Con is the stuff of nightmares.)

  6. David, the “Anvil of God” is no more. You can enter the convention center directly across the street from the Hyatt.

    There should be video of Batsu showing up at some point.

    John, We were glad to have you join us again and especially glad that Krissy was able to this year. And, as always thanks for your part in encouraging other people to take part (especially Paul and Storm). After you’ve watched John, check out the rest of the show on YouTube.

  7. “Luchador?” I thought it was “luchadoro.” Live and learn, though the publicists for “the golden warrior” may have something to say.
    I don’t recall my first time with a stage type audience, and haven’t been told about it since I stopped taking calls from family members* (not a serious statement). You did good Mr S, at least for the little bit I listened to while finding that Amber Benson enters from stage right at about 26:22.617359822.
    -
    *Joke: a set of words or other communications done on purpose that cause laughter.**
    **[very] not a joke: A set of … that causes the “Joker” to have to explain that “Hey, it was a joke!”

  8. … and Krissy came along with me for the first time this year, which made it especially awesome.

    I thought Krissy was with you at Penguicon? I know Athena was there (saw her a couple of times), and I saw you in the post-con pics. (Missed getting together with you to have you sign my copy of The Human Division, dammit!)

  9. “In fact I had my wife bring me a large glass of milk while I was on the panel.”

    ~aghast~ And you STILL got the… Well. How much capsaicin-heavy salsa did you eat!? ~squirming at the mere thought~

  10. I love the way things spiral out: without your post I would not have come across Amber Benson and Anthony Stewart Head doing their take on the Rocky Horror Show, and my life would be much the poorer for it. He’s got pretty amazing legs, and he knows how to use them.

    Of course, we just spent a wonderful time in stunningly beauitiful Basel, Switzerland, because a friend was doing the keyboards on the world tour of Mama Mia; what better reason can there be to hop on TVG trains to Basel and to enjoy the show, plus pre and post cocktails and his guided tour? The show was great!

    And where else would you find people carefully wrapping up their clothes in bright plastic bags, which they attach to themselves and then just jump into the Rhine. They bobble along downstream, and they get out and put their clothes back on and go about their day. I’m profoundly impressed by this..

  11. Glad your wife could go with you! As someone attempting to move into a career path that will involve more of this kind of thing, it’s something I think about a lot and talk to my partner about at least occasionally. Also, you seem like a nice person with a really good relationship, and having that AND showing up at cons seems like it should be encouraged in general.

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